for January 21, 2004
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for today's rant...
[Inscrutable Links: John Peel Says "Hi". FM106.3 Staff List. FM106.3's 1988 playlist.]
Blinded By Science
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman
As human beings, we all have things in common. We exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. We hope the check clears, when it bothers to arrive. And we become fiendishly attached to improbably small gadgets we use primarily to demonstrate that our popularity begins where our high school nerdiness left off.
"Wait, what was that?" you ask. Daaaaaaaahling, is that a pager in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?
You've seen it happen. Your delightful companion acquires a pager and presents you with a new and exciting method with which you can distract him from the business at hand. The pager goes off and your friend rings you back, desperate to hear breathless gossip. It's a fabulous way to demand your friend quit doing whatever he's doing and do what you want, and you grow accustomed to your puppet - until all his other friends join you backstage, yank his strings and you find you can't have a tete a tete with your cher amour. It's quite annoying.
Next your friend picks up a cell phone, and you get a cell phone, and no matter what, you can't do a thing without discussing it with your entire circle of compañeros, and his, and theirs. When was the last time you grocery shopped without outside input? You can't finish a meal without the china-rattling peal of cacophonous contact...
...and if you did, you'd wonder what went wrong. Where are your friends? What's happening that they're not ringing you up with every fleeting thought? What if - what if they've found new friends more available for comment than you? It's a nightmare scenario for you, and that friend who hasn't dialed your number in the last half an hour, and you can't stand it.
What these hideous gadgets removed from our lives was the sense that we each have lives of our own, and that phone calls are essentially interruptions. It is no longer acceptable to postpone conversations, especially not when we're doing anything so pedestrian as working, sleeping or minding children. How many parents have you seen take calls and miss the moment their children scatter in the frozen foods section? [Or worse? -Ed.] It's a peculiar phenomenon in the America where everyone recites the "family first" mantra as children notice their parents sometimes fib.
All this said, Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love asks if you noticed the weather last weekend was - say - a little snowy? Perhaps nearing white-out conditions on some of our major Central New Jersey roads? Yes...um...this may have been our fault. Your Gruyere was very surprised when her handsome companion Paulie Gonzalez came home two weeks ago with two little shopping bags after a 2-for-1 sale at a phone store with - it's shamefully true - two cell phones. Last weekend, Your Mellow Gouda broke down and started reading the manual. On Sunday, she made her first entirely frivolous cell phone call. Yes, my love, she who swore up and down she'd never have one of these things has one, and that explains the frost. Hell has frozen over. Sorry!
Well, life's challenges abound. Your Creamy Brie has never liked phones when face-to-face contact was possible, but we must acknowledge that parents and children may be - and sometimes should be - separated by a handful of states. Our childhood friends roam across time zones and international borders. Let's hope mindful is as mindful does, and we can keep in touch without reaching out and pinching someone.
©2004 Robin Pastorio-Newman
All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.
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